traveling with knitting supplies

ChrisN15720's picture

hi everyone!

i'll be flying back to college soon and i was wondering if any of you had a negative experience trying to get though airport security with knitting needles. i've flown with wooden needles before, but i'm working on a project with addi turbos and i'm not sure if i could get through security with them....i don't want them to be taken away! i know a few friends of mine have had their needles taken away. i'm afraid that if security does find them they won't believe that i knit and will assume that i plan on poking someone to death.....i dunno. am i just being paranoid?

JPaul's picture

I love the internet.  It's

I love the internet.  It's such a great source of information.  The downside, of course, is that it is also a tremendous source of MIS-information and this is one of those topics that sort of highlight that point.  Several people have suggested checking with the airlines, for instance, but it's not the airline screening your carry-on or deciding what you can take through the security checkpoint.  I wouldn't recommend that anyone attempt to take a knife of any size through airport security because they read on MenWhoKnit.com that United Airlines allows them in the cabin...unless it's a butter knife and it's not serrated.  United may allow two inch knives on-board, but as a passenger you are Prohibited from carrying (or even attempting to carry) a knife onto a flight.  You can be arrested for bringing a knife to the security checkpoint in your carry-on or on your person (unless it's that butter knife).

So don't call the airline to ask them about knitting needles.  Check the TSA Website.  They are the one's who have made the decision to allow knitting needles and they are the ones who are digging through your bags.  (it could also be another company, like Covenant Security Services, that works for the TSA to provide screeners at places like SFO and JFK, but effectively, it's the TSA).  Here is the link: http://www.tsa.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/Permitted_Prohibited_Facts.doc

And if you read that document, you will also find this number and e-mail to contact the TSA if you still have questions or concerns: 1-866-289-9673 or TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov

I would like to believe that there are no variables, but that's not the case.  If a screener decides your knitting needles are dangerous, they can take them away.  It says that on the document I link to above and it's not a bad thing.  They need to have some autonomy to make those calls on the job.  I'd also like to believe that gender doesn't play a roll, but again, that's probably naive...the view is different on this side of the Golden Gate Bridge...rose colored lenses and all that.  But if someone was following me around the airport because I was a guy who can knit or if I got my needles taken away simply because I'm a man, then that's another issue and I'd start making some noise about it (NOT at the the airport...later.  Write some letters or make some calls and talk about gender discrimination).

Honestly, I don't think you should expect any difficulty.  Look at the people who have responded to this topic so far.  How many have reported having needles taken away?  None.  And that's pretty much the case if you check other forums where this topic comes up.  If you read about someone who had their knitting taken away or couldn't fly with it, check the date and I'd wager it's not a recent posting.

ChrisN15720's picture

thanks so much for your

thanks so much for your helpful and insightful reply. you make very good points that make a lot of sense. thanks for taking the time to respond.

file:///Users/martinwebster/Desktop/TSA%20%7C%20Transportation%20Security%20Administration%20%7C%20Transporting%20Knitting%20Needles%20&%20Needlepoint.webarchive

vt_shua's picture

Hi. I flew from Vermont to

Hi. I flew from Vermont to California on United Airlines over the holidays - with those behemouth aluminium straight needles (size 13!) and had no problem. I think this sort of thing can vary, depending on a) airline, b) the departure city's mellowness and c) security's potential gender issues. Check with the airlines. For whatever reason, United now allows knife blades less than 2 inches onboard. And they cheerily announced this over the intercom, after the safety demonstration. Go figure. However, you might avoid making any jokes about Afghans. Be prepared, though - knitting on a plane can open you up for all sorts of undesired conversations.

trucker945's picture

Hey man,Just because you

Hey man,

Just because you know you're paranoid, doesn't mean there ain't SOMEBODY out to get you.

Seriously though, check ahead with the security peeps. With my luck, I always run into the newbie-wanna-be-in-charge super-shit-for-brains that makes his own rules at the last second, and I end up getting screwed over. Better safe than sorry.

Keith

Billbear's picture

I just got back from Costa

I just got back from Costa Rica and took a project with me and had no problems though I was using bamboo circs.  I posted a while back asking the same question and someone linked the website on what is allowed and what isnt.  Knitting needles are allowed HOWEVER each security person does have some discretion, iirc.  If you are really concerned about losing your turbos maybe just change the project to wooden ones.  But I think you are okay.

kiwiknitter's picture

Here in New Zealand, we can

Here in New Zealand, we can carry knitting needles with us in the cabin on domestic flights but not on international flights due to foreign restrictions.  I did query the airport security and was told that if I can demonstrate that I can actually knit that I would most likely be allowed to bring them on board with me.  They did advise me that I would be suspect as a male knitter and might even be followed around the airport!  My last trip from the US back home to NZ was 1 1/2 years ago and I was allowed to bring my knitting along in my carry-on luggage.  Nothing was said by security and all the flight attendants came to watch me knit socks.  I think Martin's idea of the mailer envelope is excellent advice.  Funny, but I've never considered my Addi Turbos a lethal weapon.  It's just more over-reaction by the government.

JPaul's picture

Well, maybe a little

Well, maybe a little paranoid, but we all know how much you pay for Addi Turbos.

Knitting needles are no longer on the Prohibited Items list of the US Transportation Safety Administration.  They ARE permitted in your carry-on luggage for flights within the US.  I've flown with my knitting needles several times and have not had a problem (double-pointed needles, size 1 and 3, both metal and wood).  I've flown with projects on the needles and with just my empty needles and a ball of yarn.  I generally keep them in plain view in my bag, not hidden away in a zipped up inside pocket.  I do this so they are easier for me to get to, but it's probably good to not "hide" them in your bag.  I don't think you have anything to worry about.

All that being said, I will add this: Even though knitting needles are permitted, the final decision is left to the screeners at the airport.  If that person looking at your bag thinks the needles are dangerous, they can take them away.  If you are concerned, I think Martin's advice is good.  Be prepared to mail them off.  You can also print out a the Permitted Items list from the TSA website and show it to the screeners if there are questions (it may or may not sway them), but I don't think you should worry.

No, not paranoid at all,

No, not paranoid at all, just realistic. It does happen. Have an addressed & stamped envelope ready that you can mail to your address if need be. I think flying within the US is fairly safe. International is a different beast. Just be prepared!
M